It’s been a long time… before Hardcore Gaming 101, before Kotaku or the Angry Video Game Nerd, before 1UP, Joystiq and a bunch of other sites still living and defunct, there was |tsr’s NES Archive. While it only lived for four years, hasn’t updated in 23 years, and all of the images are broken now (a huge shame for some of the features), it’s still online, still ready to give you their humorous take on old video games. Long may it continue beaming out its snarky message. Consider that the time between when the NES was released, 1985, and |tsr’s archive shut down, 2000, was only 15 years. And that time isn’t getting any longer, while the time since it shutdown is. I’ve said it a lot here lately, but: time is cruel.
A few notable features there:
- An interview with Ed Logg, identified as the developer of NES Tengen Tetris but also one of the great designers of Atari, programmer of Asteroids and Gauntlet.
- A collection of NSF music files, playable in a variety of ways including, as the page indicates, in WinAmp.
- A list of old gaming sites, useful mostly as a base for finding things on the Wayback Machine. It’s interesting to note where some sites redirect to. Domain guardianship of some old domains were handled by Classic Gaming (classicgaming.com), but because IGN didn’t care enough to keep it viable those sites just redirect to the IGN main page now. Poor form. Sites that you can still reach (sometimes through intermediary sites) through their links are eBay, the Howard & Nester comic archive and the Japanese site Classic Videogame Station Odyssey.
- And the meat of the site, their pages of reviews of NES games, pirate and bootleg games (sadly with dead images), NES books and ads (also with all broken images) and merchandise (images: nil).
The images, I note, are not broken so much as forbidden access. It’s possible that tsr’s web host, Atari HQ, still has them but has misconfigured the site. Atari HQ is still up, but now seems to only be an aggregator for other sites’ content. I wonder if an email to the right person might restore access to that entire swath of early web and videogaming history, or if they’re completely asleep at the switch?